Revolutionizing the digital supply chain

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
by Krista Henry

students in a computer science class

Kinaxis, an Ottawa-based supply chain planning software company, relies on Waterloo students to develop high quality tools for business development.

“One of the greatest advantages of hiring co-op students is that they bring a fresh perspective.” says Prabhakar Regmi, advisory developer for the company’s business analytics development team. Since 2016, students enrolled in Computer Science, Financial Analysis and Risk Management, Software Engineering and Mathematical Optimization programs in the Faculty of Mathematics have been leveraged for their technical skills.

Faizaan Madhani, a second-year Computer Science student, is one of nine Waterloo co-op students at Kinaxis for the Winter 2021 term. Wanting to learn new skills, Madhani joined Kinaxis as an intern developer, algorithms, business applications.

Building tools that matter

Madhani and his fellow co-op students develop software tools for development teams to achieve their goals more efficiently. “Everything I’m doing is directly affecting software builders,” says Madhani. “It’s important for me to see that impact.”

As his co-op term draws to a close, Madhani is putting the finishing touches on a tool that will significantly shorten the workflow of Kinaxis developers by reducing redundancies and automating parts of the process related to building, testing and validating software. He enjoys a high degree of autonomy, which presents both a challenge and an opportunity as he makes consequential coding decisions.

“As I work with other developers, I’ve come to realize that software engineering isn’t just all about coding,” Madhani adds. “It’s a lot of interpersonal communication as well. I’ve learned so much through this process.” 

Despite the challenges of working remotely, Madhani has embraced the unique environment, starting with dressing professionally before sitting down to work every day.

“You do lose a lot of the interaction that comes from being in an office environment, so you have to be deliberate about keeping in close touch with your team,” he says.

The Waterloo difference

In selecting co-op students, Regmi and his team assess how much knowledge students have with regards to data structures and algorithms, but their top priority is identifying students with an aptitude for getting to the bottom of complex problems.

“We look for people who hustle to find answers to difficult questions,” Regmi says. “I’ve really liked the way Faizaan is a problem-solver.”   

From Regmi’s perspective, Waterloo students demonstrate a winning combination of technical skill, enthusiasm, and adaptability.

“Students like Faizaan contribute so much to our team,” he says. “Waterloo has always been a pool of talent for Kinaxis, and in light of our positive experiences with co-op students, that will definitely continue to be the case.”

Hire the software development skills you need today with Waterloo math students.

Looking for software development talent?

After analyzing over 71,000 job descriptions, research at Waterloo found the top five skill categories are most in demand for junior students:

• Programming and development
• Communication and collaboration
• Financial analysis
• Data analysis (SQL and Python)
• Artificial Intelligence and machine learning

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